We're now living in a period filled with uncertainty, but recent statistics tell us one thing is for sure – people are gaming quite a bit more during the coronavirus outbreak. Gaming is entertaining, safe, and can allow people to connect – it’s the ultimate social distancing activity. In response, we’ve seen gaming and tech giants offer free games, new apps, and other incentives to promote further play.
Survey data released since the beginning of the outbreak is painting a clear picture that gaming has become increasingly popular universally while people are urged to stay at home.
- Video Gaming: Research firm, Nielsen, concluded that the amount of time spent playing video games has increased across several countries: the US led the field with 45% of respondents indicating they’ve been playing more often, France was close behind with 38% of respondents, the UK and Germany also saw meaningfully high percentages.
- Online Gaming: Nielsen also found the same trend with people playing games online together - the US also had its nose ahead with nearly 30% of those represented saying they were playing more. The UK and France were the other notables, with more than 10% of their responders reporting increased playing time.
- Mobile Gaming: Adcolony released a separate report for US consumers that mobile gaming has seen a 24% jump in those playing new games, amounting to about 45% of total responders. 66% of responders are playing mobile games they’ve already played more often.
These trends have hardly gone unnoticed - we’ve begun to see big-name gaming and tech companies respond one-by-one to further entice people to adopt gaming as their primary entertainment medium.
- Google: Moved early on in April by waiving their entry fee to their cloud gaming service, Stadia, and giving users 2 free months of their premium version – unlocking several games for their playing pleasure.
- Sony: Spearheaded a “Play at Home” initiative, which provided PlayStation4 console owners with 2 free games to download between April 15th and May 5th and included a $10 million fund to keep smaller developers outputting quality games.
- Facebook: Released their gaming mobile app on April 20th, designed to allow users to create and watch live gaming streams in a convenient way – with only a few clicks within the app. This had been a project that had been in the works for several years and was originally slated to go live in June.
These 3 companies have certainly not been the only ones with these kinds of strategic responses to this evolving trend, but these examples help underscore part of the impact this virus has had on the gaming industry. As more people play more games as a result of the virus, more companies offer incentives and promotions - likely to result in further game play and even more promotions. Quite the positive feedback loop if you ask us. Stay at home and keep on gaming!